U.S. military wraps up its mission in Bahamas after hurricane

Sept. 18 (UPI) — Two weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, U.S. military forces began winding down their rescue efforts.

The hurricane hovered over the island nation for about 40 hours beginning on Sept. 3, and the United States military has been involved in relief efforts since.

Navy and Marine personnel returned to Norfolk, Va., this week after providing support to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Amphibious transport ships, helicopters and personnel of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron HM-14 and HM-15, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron HSC- 9 and HSC-26 were involved. Their duties included aviation and logistics support across the islands; delivery and dispersal of water, food, medical supplies, search-and-rescue gear, tarps and solar lights; and transportation of personnel from the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs and a U.S. Air Force Airfield Assessment Team, the Navy said in a statement.

A priority was the quick clearing of airfields, and the airlift capability was specifically requested by the Bahamian government. As the U.S. military responded to the Bahamas, it closed several of its own installations on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts in anticipation of the hurricane’s landfall on the mainland.

The United States sent USAID representatives to the Bahamas within hours after the Category 5 hurricane passed.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced on Tuesday that its five cutters and five helicopters, deployed to assist emergency responders, returned to their U.S. home stations. In two weeks of relief work it received 1,388 search and rescue calls and rescued over 400 people.

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